Once you start making the effort to “wake yourself up”—that is, be more mindful in your activities—you suddenly start appreciating life a lot more.
How did you experience the recent eclipse? I was able to enjoy it from on top of Hurricane Ridge, on the Olympic Peninsula. It was a truly spectacular day, without a cloud in the sky. First the temperature dropped and then I noticed the sky turn a deeper, more brilliant shade of blue. Unique shadows were cast across the mountain ranges and reflections on the ground of what appeared to be dancing leaves. Birds became confused and started to chirp, while flying for protection in the trees nearby. Although the changes seemed subtle, the birds knew something unusual was happening.
Looking up towards the sun and watching the dark moon take center stage seemed a bit odd, giving a completely different perspective. Time seemed to slow down as many people paused to take note of this rare event. It felt a little like a “reboot.” Our lives, just like computers, need a reboot from time to time. To shut everything down and start back up again—with updated programming and cleared of clutter and viruses—allows everything to work together more harmoniously.
If we have fun with this metaphor, and pretend we went through a reboot—what do you want to be different when you boot back up again? With so much going on in our personal lives and in the world around us, we can get caught in a mode of “soldiering on” while ignoring how we truly feel, or what we actually need to thrive in our lives. Although this can be a source of strength in sustaining us through a difficult time, a strategy of prolonged use can be hard on our nervous system.
With the art of mindfulness, and a fresh reboot, you can decide to pay more attention to how you are feeling and thinking, and to what signals your body is giving you. Consider the programs running as our patterns, the things we do on autopilot. What would you like to change in the next few months that will allow you to break a degenerative pattern and upgrade to one that is more self-nurturing? Do you need more rest or exercise? Could it help to pay closer attention to healthy foods? Consider how much technology and negativity you let in, try replacing them with something more creative.
Community is important—connecting to people you can be supported by and support in return. Being mindful also means putting as much of our attention on the present moment as possible, and limiting time spent ruminating over worries. By making sure we surround ourselves with loving connections (including our furry friends and nature), it helps to offset the unrest we hear about in the daily news.